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You may be healthy and feeling good about your risk for heart disease. However there are causes of heart attacks in men that many people are not aware of:

  1. Air Pollution– inhaling ozone can kill cardio cells, throw off your heartbeat, and increase your risk for a heart attack even if you don’t have heart disease. Exercise indoors on high-ozone days and do your best to avoid exhaust-choked streets. A study released in Circulation, June 25, 2012 by Dr. Devlin revealed the following results; “individuals exposed to air containing small amounts of ozone for two hours experienced impairment of fibrinolysis and adverse effects on the autonomic control of heart rate. In addition, vascular markers of inflammation were raised.” The results were important because previously the focus was on air pollution and its effects on the heart. This was one of the first studies that showed the correlation between air pollution and the heart.[1]
  2. Baby Aspirin (81mg)- if you are taking this for preventative reasons don’t run out. “Stopping baby aspirin suddenly can triple your odds for trouble-causing blood clots in 10 days.”[2] Stopping can also have a rebound effect that can increase your risk of heart attack. If you have had a heart attack or a stent placed in one or more of your heart arteries, stopping daily aspirin therapy can lead to a life-threatening heart attack.[3] In addition you can trigger a blood clot.
  3. Kidneys– have your kidney function checked especially if you suffer from Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and have a family history of kidney problems. Issues with your kidneys can triple your risk of heart attack.
  4. Family History– have any of your siblings had a heart attack before 50. If you have a relative who died of heart disease before age 60, your own risk of early heart trouble is higher as well. This was what a study involving millions of people in Denmark reveled that was conducted over 30 years. The study showed people with a parent or sibling who died young of heart problems were roughly twice as likely as others to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease – where “plaques” build up in the heart arteries, raising the risk of heart attack before age 50. They also had double the risk of suffering a ventricular arrhythmia, an often fatal rhythm disturbance in the heart’s main pumping chamber.”[4]
  5. Psoriasis and Rheumatoid Arthritis– Psoriasis patients are more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, and poor cholestrol profiles. Those conditions make cardiovascular problems more likely. In addition 78% more likely to be diagnosed with ischemic heart disease and 70% more likely to be diagnosed with stroke. In addition nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease and more than twice were more likely to be diagnosed with atherosclerosis.[5]    Rheumatoid Arthritis can increase “the risk of having a heart attack by 60 per cent  just a year after a patient has been diagnosed, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.”[6] The good news is you can get treatment with medications and lifestyle changes that can help prevent this.

[1] Devlin RB, Duncan KE, Jardim M, et al. Controlled exposure of healthy young volunteers to ozone causes cardiovascular effects. Circulation 2012; DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATION-AHA.112.094359. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org.

[2] 7 Sneaky Causes of Heart Attacks, Real Age. http://www.realage.com/mens-health-guide/hidden-heart-attack-risks-2

[3] Daily Aspirin Therapy: Understand the benefits and risks. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/daily-aspirin-therapy/HB00073

[4] Family History foretells early heart disease. Reuters. Aug. 23, 2012

[5] Hitti, Miranda. Psoriasis May Raise Cardiovascular Risks. Web MD. June 15, 2009. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/news/20090615/psoriasis-may-raise-cardiovascular-risks

[6] Heart Attack Risk Increases Rapidly After Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Diagnoses. Science News. Dec. 6, 2010.